20 phrases you can replace with one word

Circumlocution is the use of many words when one or two will do. It’s a scourge of corporate writing. Here’s how to avoid it.

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In case you’re unfamiliar, circumlocution is the use of many words when one will do. For example, writing “at this point in time” when “now” will work.

As Ragan.com publisher Mark Ragan often points out at his seminars, readers have “an incredibly shrinking attention span.” As writers and editors, we need to communicate as clearly and concisely as possible. One way we can do this—avoid circumlocution.

Here are some examples:

Instead of


afford an opportunity

allow, let

as a means of


at this point in time


due to the fact that


during the period


has a requirement for


in a timely manner

quickly, promptly

in accordance with

by, following, per, under

in advance of


in regard to

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